So it's a start. The White Sox made a clear present-for-future trade by dealing a good set-up man signed through 2017 for a prospect who isn't yet ready for the majors. By trading Zach Duke to the Cardinals, they save the remaining $7.3 million on his contract but further weaken an already compromised bullpen. Of course, non-contending teams don't particularly need specialist relievers like Duke. They do need prospects like OF Charlie Tilson.
Duke overall pitched well for the White Sox. Depending upon your predilection, he accrued 1.6 bWAR, 0.5 fWAR and 1.9 WARP. He struck out 26.1% of batters against 11.6% walks. Ventura used him more but in shorter outings this season. His 53 appearances leads the American League though he's only thrown 37.2 innings. A solid bullpen arm who we will remember with vague appreciation.
Tilson is 23 years old and has played all of this season for the Cardinals' Triple-A affiliate. Baseball America ranked the lefty hitter as their 10th best prospect in their recent midseason update, saying:
Tilson has some of the best speed in the organization and a knack for making contact. His hit tool is at least average, but he has close to bottom-scale power. Still, he sticks to his strengths at the plate. In center field, his speed plays well and he has good range. He’s at least a solid fourth outfielder candidate.
Certainly looks like a possible Austin Jackson replacement. They have a more detailed write-up here.
For those who don't like strikeouts, Tilson has averaged around 12.5% in the upper minors. For those who like speed, he lead the Texas League in steals in 2015, though his 46 swipes in 65 attempts lacked efficiency. This season, he's traded quantity for efficiency with 15 for 18. Oh, and his bunting is praised.
His arm is below-average and it looks like he'll be about an average defensive center fielder. Without some pop, though, he's likely to struggle to be an average hitter. Tilson has local ties, as he was a 2nd round pick in 2011 out of New Trier.
I'll publish my midseason (sic) prospect list update after the trade deadline but Tilson looks like he'd be right in the middle of the top ten and the team's top outfield prospect.
To replace Duke on the active roster, the White Sox activated Carlos Rodon from the disabled list. He starts today.